The Best Packing Materials

By Prev Info - October 16, 2022

 Whether you need to ship something you sold online, or send a gift to someone you know, selecting the best packing materials will ensure that your item will arrive in the same condition as when you packed it. Packing materials include more than what goes inside the box or padded envelope containing your item. Consider the quality of the box, envelope and packing tape you use.

The Best Packing Materials

Boxes and Envelopes

Choose a box or envelope that is slightly larger than the item you want to ship. You want enough--but not too much--room so that you can pad and protect your item. The weight and size of your item will determine how thick a box or large a padded envelope you need. Neither heavy nor fragile items can be shipped in regular mailing boxes and brown envelopes. Heavier, more fragile items should be sent in corrugated boxes for more support. Heavy-duty boxes should be used for items that need extra protection. 

Reusing boxes is ecologically friendly, but when doing so, remember that a used box may not be able to protect an item as well as a new box. Check the flaps and edges of the box before shipping. Envelopes can deteriorate from even one use. Make sure that any previous shipping information or any logo is obscured, either by marker or by taping a brown paper bag over it. The U.S. Postal Service will not mail boxes with any visible logo.


Surround your item with cushioning inside the box or envelope. Foam "peanuts" not only provide lightweight and cheap protection, they are also quite resilient and can fit into almost any extra area. For the more ecologically minded who do not want to use Styrofoam products, popcorn absorbs almost as much shock even though, unlike "peanuts," popcorn can only be used once. Another re-usable item that works almost as well as "peanuts" is newspaper crumpled either into balls or whatever shape will fit the space you need. 

Fragile or collectible items should have 3 inches of cushioning around them inside the box. It would be smart to place those items in bubble-out bags or foam pouches, or wrapping those items with bubble wrap or Kraft paper before surrounding them with "peanuts," popcorn, or newspaper. Once you have packed your item, hold the box or envelope closed and gently shake or flip it. If you hear or feel movement, add more cushion.


The tape you use to seal your box protects your items as much as its cushioning. If the box opens during shipment, the amount or quality of cushioning that you have used will not matter. Do not use masking or cellophane tape. Do not seal your box or envelope with string or bare staples. The U.S. Postal Service will not ship it. Staples must have tape over them. 

Reinforce all seams of the box you are using with 2-inch-wide tape that is either pressure-sensitive plastic or nylon-reinforced so that you will have the traction you need on both sides.





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